Book Talk: Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Date: March 2010
Series or Standalone: First in series
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
In her dreams he’s irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she’s awake—and captivates her just the same—she’s not sure which way is up and which is down.
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.
As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.
And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
First line: Everything changed the night I saw the burning man fall from the sky.
I picked up Falling Under because of the cover. I mean, it’s SO gorgeous. I read it because of that line. That very first line. It captivated me and then, the rest was history. I started the book on a plane ride and when I had to stop to sleep it you might as well have killed me. It was so marvelous—the prose, the characters, the plot, the descriptions—I was in love right away.
Gwen Hayes did an amazing, amazing job painting a picture of Theia’s dream world and Haden’s real world that you couldn’t help but be pulled in. The whole time—from the first dream to when Haden steps into Theia’s class—you’re wondering if he’s good or evil. It’s a hard decision to make because you want to trust him, yet he’s saying not to trust him. All we know about Haden is that he has an agenda (again, whether it’s good or bad we don’t know) and it involves Theia. Unfortunately for Haden, he falls for her—and you can be certain that’s not part of his plan.
Haden is a wonderful character, teasing Theia and then being nice. He’s hot and then he’s cold. He wants to be near her and then he’s pushing her away. He's the trademark "tortured soul"--or so he seems. He's completely surprising.
Theia is a nothing-left-unsaid kind of girl, especially when it comes to Haden. She doesn’t question herself. She knows she wants to be with Haden, knows he wants to be with her, and she doesn’t let him change her mind. I love her because she's NOT that way in the beginning of the story. She’s sheltered, distant from her father and does everything to please him—even when she doesn’t want to.
Then, Haden helps her come out of that role and find a role as her own person. She also does the same for him. He doesn't change her--or her change him--they change each other by showing each other who they truly are. It's one of the most beautiful transformations of a character in literature. I can't explain it without you reading it, but who Theia is in the beginning of the book and who she is at the end are two very different things.
This is story that you won’t be able to predict. Everything is so exciting and descriptive and unique. It will take you down one road only to switch directions and leave you with whiplash. It will tear out your heart, stomp on it and then patch it back together—that’s a good thing, of course.
Falling Under is the perfect blend of things that go bump in the night, dreams, nightmares and the deceptive beauty of love. It will challenge your view on what's real and what's only a dream--and how both of those things can completely transform a life. Don’t miss Falling Under. This is a book that people will be talking about!